Control Your Folder Icons Appearance With the Finder's Icon View

Finder Icon

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The Finder’s Icon view is the default view for folders. In Icon view, each object in a folder is represented by icons. This lets you quickly and easily identify what an object is. For instance, folders stand out because of the folder icon they use. Microsoft Word files have their own icon, or if your Mac supports it, Word files may display a thumbnail view of the first page of the document.

Icon view has a lot going for it. You can rearrange icons in any order you wish, quickly sort icons, and clean up any mess you may have created in arranging icons. You can also control a great deal about how the icons look and behave.

Finder folder view options.

Icon View Options

To control how your icons will look and behave, open a folder in a Finder window, then right-click in any blank area of the window and select Show View Options.

Where to see Show View Options in Finder.

If you prefer, you can bring up the same view options by selecting View, Show View Options from the Finder menus.

  • Always open in icon view: Placing a checkmark next to this option will cause this folder to always use Icon view when you first open the folder. You can, of course, use the Finder view buttons to change the view type after you open the folder in the Finder.
  • Group By: Use this option to set how you would like your folders to be grouped. Options include: Name, Kind, Application, Date Last Opened, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created, Size, and Tags.
  • Sort By: You can further organize your icons by sorting them by: Name, Kind, Date Last Opened, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created, Size, and Tags.
  • Icon size: Use this slider to dynamically adjust the size of the icons in this folder. The larger the icon, the easier it is to see the thumbnail previews. Of course the larger they are, the more room they take up.
  • Grid spacing: Use the grid spacing slider to adjust how far apart icons can be. Grid spacing does not prevent you from dragging icons around anywhere you wish. Instead, it specifies the spacing that will be used when you select the cleanup option to get your icons back to a more orderly presentation.
  • Text size: This drop-down menu lets you specify the text size used for an icon’s name.
  • Show item info: Placing a checkmark here will cause icons (mostly folders and images) to display additional information, such as the number of items in a folder or the size of an image.
  • Show icon preview: This option enables or disables the ability of icons to show a thumbnail preview of the icon’s content. With a checkmark in place, the icons will show a preview; with the checkmark removed, the file’s default icon will display.
  • Background: There are three background options: White, Color, or Picture. White is the default, and the background most people choose to use. If you select Color, a color well (small rectangle) will display. Click on the color well to use the Color Picker to select the color of your choice for the background. If you select Picture, you can use any image on your Mac as a background for the Finder window. Before you get carried away, be aware that using a background picture will slow down the opening and moving of Finder windows, because your Mac must redraw the picture every time the folder moves or changes size.
  • Use as Defaults: Clicking this button will cause the current folder’s view options to be used as the default for all Finder windows. If you click this button by accident, you may not be pleased to discover that every Finder window has a strange color background, really small or large text, or some other parameter that you changed.
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